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Tennis energy clear at Steamboat tournament

Increase in players attributed to Colorado Mountain College classes

Louis Nijsten prepares to return a shot by Keegan Burger during their tournament match Saturday at the Tennis Center of Steamboat Springs.
Matt Stensland

— There are a plethora of reasons why tennis is one of the fastest-growing activities locally. At the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, this was as evident as it ever has been with more than 120 local players taking part in the Steamboat City Sin­­gles and Doubles Tennis Cham­pionships.

Although local tennis stalwarts dotted the playing surface Saturday, two groups saw the most increase. It was the first time the tournament included 2.5 doubles. The 3.0 singles players bracket also had more players than before.

Although the game is gaining popularity, tournament director Jim Swiggart had a better guess about why the beginner bracket in particular had grown.



“The partnership between (Colorado Mountain College) and the Tennis Center,” he said. “It’s just a great relationship.”

Swiggart and local tennis pro Greg Sussman teach beginner and intermediate courses through CMC.



The classes are Mondays and Fridays, with the intermediate session from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and the beginning session from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

In the winter, they cap the sessions after the first 12 people sign up through CMC. In summer, Swiggart said they could take more players because of the outdoor courts.

The classes are for varying abilities. The beginner course is designed for someone who never has played the game or has limited experience. Rules, how to keep score and basic principles are discussed. In the intermediate class, strategies and more advanced techniques are taught.

“I’ve been at a lot of places that target and focus on specific demographics,” said Sussman, who has been teaching the class for about a year. “Here we have a lot of programs for all players. We’ve had kids, and we’ve had people from 20 (years old) to 80.”

The players that signed up for the CMC class this semester were encouraged to play in the city championships.

Judging from the beginner brackets, the class was well-represented.

“I took the class because it was a cheap way to get a lesson,” said Rose Kouwenhoven, who is taking the class this semester. “The CMC class is very affordable. It came very recommended by the people that had done it. It was really, really fun. You meet a lot of people that are at your level. Then you have people you can call and play with.”

Swiggart said the Tennis Center has been working with CMC for about four years. He said the Tennis Center’s junior program is one of the best ways to get children involved in the sport.

The CMC course is done in a similar fashion and is available to people of all ages, Swiggart said.

“You always try to grow the game with your junior program and programs that bring people back into the game,” he said. “This has been a successful part of that formula.”

The next session through CMC begins in January.


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